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Blood is composed of several types of cell: red and white cells and platelets.
Chemotherapy acts on all the body’s cells and prevents them from multiplying. Those that multiply very fast, like blood cells, are the most affected and their number decreases.
This decrease varies: it may be slight or very considerable, depending on the different combinations of chemicals administered. Your blood cell count is checked very regularly by means of a blood test known as a ‘complete blood count’ (CBC).
Red blood cells serve to transport oxygen in the blood. If their number is too low, this is called anaemia. It may cause fatigue and breathlessness when you make an effort. Your oncologist may decide to give you a blood transfusion to treat the anaemia.
Platelets or thrombocytes are one of the elements that make your blood coagulate (or clot). If there are too few, we speak of thrombopenia. If this condition is too serious, your oncologist may prescribe transfusions of packed platelets to lessen the danger of bleeding.